Another Trip to Conception Island

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sat 16 May 2009 21:17
23:50.95N 75:07.48W
May 9, 2009
Rigged for serious fishing, we headed back thru the North Channel Rocks Cut
into the deep blue sea.
Jack brought in the first fish, a big mahi. Judy brought in the second one,
an even bigger mahi, that she requested we release. We obliged. We'd have
plenty of fresh fish tonight. Changing course from our original destination
of Calabash Bay, Long Island, we instead headed more NE to Conception
Island. The light over our shoulder, we were able to see and avoid the
numerous coral heads dotting the harbour. Conception is uninhabited, and
part of the Park System.
The next morning, we hopped in the dinghy and slipped through the reef
extending out the north of the island. A maze of coral heads provided a
challenge even to the dinghy.Some were very shallow, others even sticking
out of the water like huge teeth looking for a dinghy dinner.
The waves were too rough to snorkel. We continued on til we came to a
protected cove, anchored the dinghy, and slipped into the clear water to
have a look. Much of the coral has suffered a plague of sorts. A white
crusty layer covers much of it and it appears dead. A pile of white bones.
But this reef had much new coral growth. Bright golden yellow Elkhorn
corals reached out to the surface. New stag horns poked out. Even brain
coral, cactus coral, and others were staking their claims to the old heads.
Surprisingly there were not an over abundance of fish. We ate lunch, then
went further south to explore another reef. It was even nicer. Could the
corals be making a comeback? We maneuvered our way back thru the coral maze
to the south end of the island and back around to our anchorage. The west
side was very calm. Although there are some reefs on this side, they are
not as spectacular as those on the east side.Back aboard the Amber Isle, we
dunked our diving gear in the rinse tank and hug in to dry. Jack, ever the
enthusiast, swam over to a nearby reef for one last dive of the day. We
were all exhausted, but exhilarated.